Multichannel vs. omnichannel: What every content publisher should know

Timo Lamour

Did you know that over 50% of all customers are now active in several channels before they finally decide to buy a product? This was the conclusion of VWO's Consumer Survey Report. So it's no wonder that the terms multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing are used frequently.

Did you know that over 50% of all customers are now active in several channels before they finally decide to buy a product? This was the conclusion of VWO's Consumer Survey Report. So it's no wonder that the terms multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing are used frequently.

The interesting thing is that only very few people know the difference. So how exactly do multichannel and omnichannel differ? And what do the differences mean for us as content publishers or marketers?

A brief overview of what you can expect in this blog:

  • What exactly does omnichannel and multichannel marketing mean?
  • What is the main difference?
  • Which is better: omnichannel or multichannel?
  • 6 steps to an omnichannel marketing strategy

Differences between omnichannel and multichannel marketing

To begin, let's quickly take a look at the definitions.

Multichannel marketing offers the customer several channels to choose from

Multichannel marketing refers to the approach of offering content, products or services across multiple channels. A channel is, for example, the company's own website, an app, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Quora.

The target group has the choice between several channels, but they cannot act across channels. The individual channels act completely independently of each other. And not infrequently even compete with each other.

Linkedin Sprylab as an example for several omnichannel and multichannel marketing channels to choose from

Omnichannel marketing networks the channels

Omnichannel marketing is often referred to as the evolution of multichannel marketing. Omnichannel offers the customer a seamless and consistent brand experience across all channels. In the process, users can use the channels in parallel and thus act across channels.

All customer and inventory data is synchronized in a central system and is available on all channels and at all touchpoints of the customer journey.

So far so good. But has the distinction become absolutely clear to you yet? If not, that's not a bad thing, because now I'll pay a little attention to the main difference.

Omnichannel marketing connects the channels

Multichannel marketing puts the channels in focus

Multichannel marketing is characterized by the view of the individual channels and the strict separation of the same. Each channel tries to reach the target group in the best possible way.

Omnichannel marketing focuses on consumers

In contrast, omnichannel is oriented toward the needs and desires of the target group. Omnichannel therefore focuses on the consumer and not on the individual channels.

Omnichannel marketing focuses on consumers

Multichannel or omnichannel - which is better?

Both strategies are justified. Let's take a look at the latest figures together.

Study number 1: The more channels customers use, the more money they spend, regardless of the industry. This was the conclusion of a study by Harvard Business Review, for example.

Study number 2: So far, however, only a few companies have managed to implement a consistently congruent omnichannel strategy. In the retail sector, only 20% of retailers have done so, according to a survey by Roland Berger.

Study No. 3: "The majority of retailers are currently laggards and stragglers; the basic omnichannel fitness in this country is low," sums up Tobias Göbbel, Head of Global Practice Group Sales and Marketing at Roland Berger.

Whether multichannel or omnichannel makes more sense cannot be generalized. As is so often the case, it depends precisely on your needs. More precisely, on the needs of your customers. But one thing is certain: you must offer your customers a self-contained experience on all the channels they prefer to use.

Multichannel or omnichannel - which is better? Many just don't know

6 steps to an omnichannel marketing strategy

It's clear that omnichannel is all the rage. So much for the theory. But how do you get started with omnichannel or integrate individual aspects?

You may already be thinking about introducing an omnichannel marketing strategy yourself. Read the following section to find out exactly what is important in practice.

#1 Focus on the right channels

When implementing your multi- or omnichannel strategy, you should ask yourself whether you are using the right channels. The term channel covers all the touchpoints your customers use.

Before you do anything else: Analyze which channels your target group actually uses. Because in only a few business models does it make sense to supply every channel with content.

Possible distribution channels

When selecting your channels, be sure to think about the consumption habits of your personas rather than their own preferences. The most important channels in multichannel content distribution include:

Website and blogs

Websites and blogs are often the basis for content distribution. Content can be published on the company's own pages or on third-party pages. The latter is usually done for a fee and in a thematically relevant environment.


Apps for mobile devices are popular as an alternative or extension to the website. It is easier to use than a website in the browser and meets the standards for a great user experience. 66% of all media consumption takes place on mobile devices. And about 80% of that is via apps. So apps are an important part of a successful content strategy.

Social media

Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are used to stay in touch with friends, acquaintances and favorite brands. Consumers subscribe to profiles to be informed as soon as new content is published. Published content can be easily shared with others. The list of platforms is long and continues to grow. But beware: each platform works differently because visitors with different intentions spend time there.

Other important channels

Other important channels that are not yet part of most marketing strategies but still deserve a closer look are, for example: News aggregators, external content hubs such as Medium or voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa. Platforms such as Apple TV, games consoles and wearables such as Apple Watch are also becoming increasingly important.

Other multichannel and omnichannel marketing channels

#2 Omnichannel marketing impacts your content

What else should you definitely consider if you want to implement an omnichannel or multichannel strategy? You should adapt your content strategy.

An omnichannel content strategy virtually demands that you provide personalized content for every touchpoint of your target group. And do it across your customer's entire customer journey.

Speak personally to your target audience. Consistently and across all channels. Why? Simply because consumers expect it from you. A recent study shows that 80% of consumers prefer those companies that provide them with a personalized brand and shopping experience.

#3 Content for every step of the customer journey

Which content is optimal for my omnichannel marketing strategy? As a content creator, you will ask yourself this question sooner or later. The best guide for this is the customer journey of your target group customers.

As already mentioned, you need the right content for all touchpoints of your target group in all phases of the customer journey.

How do you proceed? You define which are the relevant touchpoints or channels for your target groups. Typically, these are websites, app, social media, media, email, and any offline presence.

Now create a content plan for each step of the customer journey that includes all relevant touchpoints. Don't forget to link the different channels in a meaningful way.

You can read how to create content quickly and efficiently with WordPress' new Gutenberg editor in this in-depth blog article from me.

#4 Offer valuable and timely content

The basis of a good omnichannel marketing strategy is the continuous collection and evaluation of user data. With this information, you are able to create specific content that actually has a high value for your target group.

The importance of relevant content is shown by the current Adobe Consumer Content Survey 2018: Almost every second customer has already bought something because they liked a brand's content so much. But even more important: If the content is not right, 67% of customers will turn to the competition.

Offer valuable and timely content through multichannel marketing

#5 Single-source-of-data is a prerequisite for omnichannel marketing

Single source of data means that all relevant content and usage data is brought together in a single place. Furthermore, it is essential to create structured channel-neutral content in order to distribute the content efficiently to all different channels. Without a uniform data structure, there is no omnichannel strategy.

So make sure that your content and usage data is maintained on a central platform, such as a content management system. This not only gives you a unified view of your content and target groups, but also valuable data that you need to personalize your content.

Single source of data is a requirement for omnichannel marketing

#6 A worthwhile investment: a multichannel publishing platform

The most challenging stages in the content process are adapting the content to the specifics of each channel and, more than anything, distributing it. For this, you should invest in a multichannel publishing tool. It will save you a lot of time and enable you to efficiently publish larger amounts of content.

With a multichannel publishing platform, you can manage your content and adapt it to the channel-specific characteristics of the channels in just a few steps. You can enrich your content with additional assets, interactions and animations in a central hub. Furthermore, multichannel publishing systems allow you to conveniently publish your content to all your relevant digital channels.

Most multichannel publishing platforms can be seamlessly connected to your existing software systems.


Omnichannel marketing plays a big role. Because today's customers want to be free to choose which channels they use, it's imperative that you have a strong presence on their most important channels.

Companies that think primarily in terms of channels and don't start from content are missing the boat. Because: customers want personalized, relevant content. Always and everywhere.

Under these circumstances, you have the unique opportunity to convince your customers with relevant content and to retain them in the long term. But you must never lose sight of who you are creating content for. Namely, for your target group. Whether you're pursuing a multichannel or omnichannel strategy.

If you follow the six steps, you'll be 90% ahead of your competition.

If you want to scale your content creation or just make it more efficient, learn more about our popular Multichannel Content Hub here. If you'd like a quick individual consultation, schedule a short call here.

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Kevin Kallenbach
Head of Sales